“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”
Luciano was a goalie in a Montreal Old Timer’s League; a league of old and young players who play to win. Married and divorced twice and with one young son. He had a successful business but his real love was hockey… a fierce competitor …hated to lose…arguing every goal that ever crossed his red line. Infamous in Montreal circles for contesting scores in games. Too many pucks to the head led to scores criss-crossing in his mind. A sure win in the minds of opposing players would have a different registry on Luciano’s personal scoreboard… while the game may have been close his guys somehow would have pulled out a last second win on the strength of some key saves at his end of the ice. He was blameless on goals…if he was unsuccessful in knocking the net off to nullify a goal...then either the defence or forwards would be fingered for letting their man go or not picking up the rebound.
Such was Luciano…and on one of the many trips to his beloved Toronto HMI tournaments he was engaged in a discussion about God and his need to be reconciled to the Saviour. He seemed close to acknowledging a real need in his life and coming to personal faith in Christ, but backed away. Discussions of spiritual nature were placed on hold for a number of years…There just wasn’t a perceived need in his life. He was ok. Life was good. He was happy stopping pucks and enjoying his new wife and young son and a developing business.
All was well until that fateful spring day when he received news from his doctor…he had lost some weight and was struggling with some minor health issues but this report wasn’t on his personal health scoreboard…. Cancer. Treatments…nausea…marriage challenges…business concerns…life began to disintegrate. In September of 2011 Luciano made his way to the HMI offices in downtown Montreal to meet with Don Sr and Jr. That morning’s Scripture reading was from John’s Gospel, chapter 6. Jesus friends were in trouble in a storm on Lake Galilee and feared for their lives. The Master, however, came to their rescue. Reading the passage together struck a chord with the troubled goaltender. He was only too aware that a storm was raging in his life as he battled for every breath. He needed Jesus. This time the competitive net minder gave in, admitted his sinfulness, asked for forgiveness and invited the Saviour to take up residence in his life. Score this his biggest win. Luciano had Jesus to carry him through the last weeks of the biggest storm of his life.
Hospital, doctors, nurses, medications the battle was fierce…but finally came to an end in November, 2011. During hospital visits he asked for prayer and pointed to a cross on a church outside his window as his sign of hope. The Montreal elite goaltender had made peace with God by personally accepting Christ’s forgiveness and passed through the heavens and into the arms of his Saviour. His greatest confession and decision had assured him of his final destination…undeserved but humbly accepted…Luciano made it safely home.“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”
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